Guts and Grog Tooned Up

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 days of Horror Nerd Indoctrination- Day Six: VHS


    I am a child of the eighties and VHS is one of the biggest things that brought me into the world of horror. I did go to the cinema plenty as the fist day of this countdown stated but when I think back to being a kid I remember VHS.       
     VHS beat out Beta in a similar war that Blu Ray had with HD DVD a few years back. Once that happened all hell broke loose, and if you know me I love hell so my shit was rock hard. Ma and Pa video stores started popping up just like those unexplained bumps that, well..... that a friend told me about, anyways. I am not going to get to much into the video store aspect as that will be delved into in a future entry. At the time just like true love I thought VHS was forever. 
     Things were a lot different back in the eighties. VHS were not like DVD. You didn't just go to Wal Mart and grab new releases. If I wanted to buy say the newest entry in the Puppet Master series I would have to drop around a bill just to get it. VHS was a market for the ma and pa stores, sure some stores would have a previously viewed section where you could get them for fifteen or twenty bucks, that is if you were lucky enough to find something you actually wanted. See back then it wasn't Blockbuster or Hollywood it was small stores where they had one copy of each film to rent out. I didn't walk into Video City and have a wall of Phantasm II, granted I would of been arrested for shooting a massive dick wad all over the shelf if that had happened. It wasn't till probably the ninety's that I really started collecting VHS. When I was a kid it was all about taping off TV. That's right SLP, looked like shit but you could fit three films on one tape. My wall was covered in hand written titles that I would have to fast forward and rewind for multiple Christ ages just to find the movie I wanted. Some were taped of movie channels like HBO or Cinemax which were usually the best as you didn't have commercials and they were the actual cut of the film and not cut to shit like a Bright Eyes fan. The reason I say usually is there was an exception to this rule and that was If they were episodes of USA Up All Night, or Joe Bob Briggs Drive in Theater or later on Monstervision. These were my favorites. I would watch them over and over again. In fact to this day I still watch these. I have about sixty of them and most of them I have special edition DVDs of and still end up watching the taped version full of commercials.
      Once I graduated( I kept going back to this, I was like Matthew McConaughey frm Dazed and Confused) past the taped from TV method and was a teenager I found my love of collecting actual VHS. There was a store in the town I grew up in that sold Video's for seven bucks and I would take the bus to it and dig through the stacks. This is were I got my first copies of the Friday the 13th series as well as Nightmare. I also would find random movies that just looked awesome and buy them. I remember always looking for anything Full Moon put out, anything with evil or dead or zombie or horror in the title and well pretty much anything horror. It was at this very place that I found a copy of Cannibal the Musical. I of course bought it and took it home, popped it in and shit my pants immediately. It was a Troma film and I had heard of them in my Up all Night days when I would watch Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke em High over and over again. We will get to that in greater detail later in this countdown though.
     Now that I was getting obsessed with VHS and had found tons around town a sad thing happened. I didn't even notice it at first. Video stores around town started closing down. It wasn't overnight but it did happen a pretty rapid pace. The thing is I was blinded because when they would go out they would sell of their inventory and that made me happier than Amanda Knox. I was getting so many amazing videos that I never thought I would get my hands on. Big box versions of Hershcell Gordon Lewis movies, Elvira, random massacre movies. It was insane. They were my heroin. I was on a trip to the Coast and came across a video store closing and got Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Dead Alive and so many more. It was getting out of control like Tony Danza's daughter.
     Now that a lot of the Ma and Pa stores were on their way out it was time for Hollywood Video and Blockbuster to take reign. This is something I am still bitter about to this day. There were good things about these places but I missed bull shitting with the innocently creepy clerks at the video stores I frequented. When I asked them for Truth or Dare they didn't hand me some bull shit ass shit Madonna video they handed me a critical madness and I was grateful. The people working at these chain stores were just hired employees that had no fucking clue. One good thing about this time is that they bought so many god damn copies of each
movie that you could get previously viewed films a lot sooner than in the past. I took the money I got from my graduation to a Hollywood video and raped their videos. It was epic. Fuck my future I want Leatherface.
     By the time I got my own place, and by place I mean awesome trailer I had what scientist would call a butt load of VHS. I lined the walls of my trailer with shelves and would just sit and stare. It was epic. I assume it is what da Vinci felt when he was done with the Mona Lisa. I moved a lot(granted sometimes just down the lot) from the time I was eighteen to twenty five and god damn were these VHS a bitch to move. I endured though. They were my babies, and babies I wouldn't abort. Well at least that's what I thought.
      By the late ninety's early ought's DVD was becoming more prevalent and while I still loved my VHS I was finding DVD to have their benefits. I didn't care that much about picture as a lot of these films benefited from looking like shit. I did however love the special features and there were tons of films that I had never tracked down the VHS for that were coming out. I had no plan of full on switching to DVD but they were a nice addition.
      In 2004 I opened a specialty video/DVD/Collectible store with Jacob Von Klingele called VideoDrome. It while short lived was one of the best times of my life. I was as broke as pregnant hooker but I had no boss, I got to meet a bunch of great people and talk movies all day and do special events like movie showings and Halloween party's. This was the the moment my collecting changed. Like I said I never intended on getting rid of my VHS. It got to a point with the store where I was so dead set on keeping it open I started selling off my own collection. In the end we decided not to sign the second lease as it was unrealistic that we could survive for five years, the thing is I sold my entire collection trying to keep it going. When I went back to the real world and started working I had to start over and it just seemed like I might as well stick to DVD's as I could replace all the movies I had sold easier and I would get all the special features and they weighed the weight of Edith Massey less than VHS.

     In closing like I said earlier I thought VHS would never die, and you know what? It hasn't. It took a little break and went into hiding but it's been there the whole time.  Collectors still go nuts for it. Videos I paid a quarter for are going for hundreds of dollars and new movies and company's have taken notice. Mondo put out Sledge Hammer, Massacre Video put out 555, Camp put out The Basement, Gorgon put out an amazing House of the Devil VHS promo and new films like The Taint have VHS as an option for their film.

There were so many great promos and posters for VHS that you don't get nearly as much. Below I put some of the classic posters I remember seeing in my local video store, and below that some of the promos.

     Clocks and Cereal Box's and a blow up Ghoulie?



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